Canis Major is a bright southern constellation that contains Sirius, the brightest star in all of the night sky. This constellation was one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. This 43rd largest constellation lies just south and east of Orion, and is best seen in February.
The Milky Way runs through Canis Major with only minor obscuration by dark nebula, so this area of they sky is impressive when viewed with binoculars or a small telescope. M41, an open star cluster, is the only Messier object found in this constellation. It is home to several NGC objects that can be found by the determined telescopic observer.
© James R. Johnson, 2014.